The Scripture ~ “It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God.”
Proverbs 16:20 The Message translation.
The Spiritual Focus ~ “A true intention or belief does not need to be spoken. It is revealed through one’s action.” Owm’r F.
The Breath prayer ~ Inhale Trust, Exhale God
The Devotion ~
There is an old, philosophical adage that goes like this, “thought precedes action”. This old adage came up recently at a community yoga gathering where the conversation was about cultivating peace in our lives and in our communities. The question was, “Can we really have a positive effect in the world by the intentions we set in our yoga class?” It was a lively discussion with a couple of interesting take-aways. Several people felt that setting the intention was enough and there was no need to be attached to an outcome, which is a very yogic principle. Others felt that setting an intention was the first step to realizing the need for actions that support the outcome, in this case peace. One person thought the adage needed a tweak, “thought precedes action and requires effort.” One wonders if perhaps there is some truth to all three of these perspectives.
In most Yogadevotion classes we take time at the beginning of class to set an intention for our faith integrated yoga practice. For some setting an intention is a way of identifying something important going on in our lives for which we are grateful or need to be more mindful. For others the intention is like a wish, “If I (or my community) set an intention for say, world peace, it will happen.” And there are those who set an intention with the idea that we will put effort into an action that leads toward the intention becoming a reality. The beauty of different ways of thinking about intention setting is to consider what it would be like if they came together in such a way that the outcome is achieved effortlessly.
Yogi Baron Baptiste once defined the perfect asana practice as one where we practice with effortless effort. Where our body, mind, spirit, intentions and actions are effortless because we trust what we are experiencing to inform us. This is a yoga and faith connection. We set an intention, pay attention and trust God to guide our actions.
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